Saturday, September 29, 2007 is evil

This morning I posted a joke. Although it's not an original joke, I came across it earlier today in a long forgotten folder in my email system, and I simply couldn't resist posting it. Ninety minutes later, and Enda posts a comment telling me that "Bea Arthur (she of Golden Girls) does a great telling of this on iTunes". In fact, long ago I think I've probably heard Bea Arthur telling this joke, but I click on the iTunes link anyway only to get
and suddenly I realise that I hate Apple. Why are they forcing me to buy something from the UK iTunes web site if it's not available there, but presumably is available from the US iTunes web site? If something isn't available at but is available at then I can purchase from without any problems.

The current story about unlocked iPhones becoming useless is the worst type of corporate behaviour. I find it hard to understand why a major corporation in "the land of the free" insists on trying to force people to behave in the way that it wants them to. Fundamentally, Apple has got the same attitude as the Burmese dictators who're currently repressing their citizens so brutally. In the evolution of human civilisation, time and time again it's been proved that co-operation and openness are better than segregation and secrecy, democracy is better than dictatorship.

So I think one that one can characterise Apple's behaviour as Evil. There may be reasons to be wary of Google these days, but as far as I can see, Google's corporate philosophy puts them way ahead of Apple.

A joke

Oxford universityA woman goes up from London to Oxford for the day to visit her son Gary who is a student at the university there. Gary meets his mother at the railway station, and during the course of the day he shows her around the university and all the sights of the town. To round off the day, Gary invites his mother back to dinner at his lodgings in Summertown, just north of the city centre.

"By the way mum," he explains as they make their way up to the lodgings, "I'm sharing this flat with a guy named Simon. For students like us, it's so much more economical than living alone. He'll probably be there now, I'm sure you'll like him :-)."

On arrival, the woman gets introduced to Simon, who is already cooking the dinner. Before too long, the three of them are sitting down to a elegant but frugal three course dinner comprising a carrot and orange soup starter, brazil nut roast for main course, with tiramisu for desert. The woman notices that the two young men seem to get on very well together, and the happy glances that the two of them exchange over the dinner table begin to arouse her suspicions.

After the meal, Gary notices his mother's growing uneasiness, and suddenly realises what she may be thinking.

"Don't worry mum," he says laughing, "I guess you're thinking that we could be a gay couple, but I can assure you that we're just good friends and we both have our own bedrooms".

Although not entirely convinced, she decides to let the matter drop, and offers to do the washing up to thank the two of them for such a lovely meal.

Two weeks later Simon is expecting his parents round for dinner, and is busy preparing the meal when he realises that the soup ladle is missing. Thinking back, he realises that they haven't used it since the night Gary's mother did the washing up.

Soup Ladle"Gary," he calls out, "any idea what your mother did with the soup ladle when she cleared up, I can't find it anywhere?".

Gary can't find it either so he phones up his mother to ask her. "Well," she says indignantly, "if the two of you were sleeping in separate beds you'd have found the soup ladle by now!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Pic of Alex MasterleyLast Monday, I got an email from cuteCTguy pointing out the Alex cartoon of the day to me. For readers who're not familiar with "Alex", it's a humorous comic strip by Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor about a guy called Alex Masterley and his sidekick Clive Reed who work at Megabank, an investment bank in the City of London. This comic strip is an old favourite for people like me who work at investment banks in London. It's been around since 1987, and these days there's even a wikipedia entry about Alex.

The image of an Alex cartoon wouldn't fit neatly onto this blog and still be readable, so click here to see last Monday's cartoon. However, the text from last Monday was as follows:

Alex: This new insider's column about the financial world is rather good. I wonder who writes it ... ?
Pic of Clive ReedClive: Ahem ... actually Alex ... it's me ...
Alex: You, Clive?! You are "CityChap"?
Clive: Yes, but don't tell anyone ... It's great ... I get to write about my high-flying life as a top investment banker...
Clive: And of course, coming across as a rich, successful, powerful man has a predictable effect on the ladies ... My inbox at is full of e-mails from them ... like this one ...
Alex: Let's have a look ... Ah Yes ...
Alex: ... asking you to get her son a summer internship at the bank
Clive: I wouldn't mind if the occasional one wanted to sleep with me

Needless to say, I found this very amusing, because there are some parallels between this blog and the imaginary column of Clive as CityChap! But there are a few important differences too:
  • I suppose I should confess that I'm more of an Alex Masterly than a Clive (although my boyfriends are a lot more important me than Alex's family seems to be to him).
  • I think Clive was quite unwise to confide in his colleague Alex about his anonymous CityChap column. I would certainly never tell any of my colleagues that I'm 'GB'!
  • And lastly, unlike poor Clive, I do get propositions in my inbox :-).
(Although obviously, as anyone who's aware of my policy knows, I decline all such propositions!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

A visit to my gorgeous Japanese masseur

The day after I gave boyfriend number 3 his birthday present, I get home around 7pm to an empty house. Boyfriend number 1 usually cooks a meal for me in the evening, but tonight he's out with one of his friends, so I have to fend for myself.

gaydar logoWhile wondering what to do, my natural urges get the better of me and I decide to log on to gaydar to see who's around :-). I spot B, my gorgeous Japanese masseur, who I haven't visited for a couple of weeks or more, so I send him a message in the chat system so see if he's free this evening

GB: hi mate, u there?

But I get no response :-(. So I start checking emails, and looking at the profiles of guys that I don't know, but after about ten minutes I do get a reply

B: hi gb, sorry was with client

We chat for a short while, but soon I'm wondering whether he's busy tonight or not.

GB: would be nice to see you again sometime
B: yes u been naughty boy skipping massage
GB: perhaps I could come round tonight
B: not sure, I got another client soon
GB: well perhaps we should go running together along the river sometime
B: ok but jogging better, you run too fast lol

We chat a bit more but after another five minutes or so, another natural urge starts to get the better of me. What on earth am I going to eat for supper!

GB: I'm going to have to go soon
B: ok
GB: boyfriend number 1 is out tonight, so I don't have anyone to cook for me this evening
B: he always cook for you
GB: yes usually, but tonight I'm going to have to go to the shops and buy some supper myself :-(
B: maybe I cook for you then
GB: wow that would be great B
B: sure, why not
GB: but don't you have a massage client tonight
B: perhaps, but he not confirmed yet

I often find B like this these days! He can be a bit devious and hard to pin down. Similarly, I always enjoy activities with him, but sometimes we have a bit of fun when we meet and sometimes we don't. I'm at a complete loss in terms of what I should do or say to make activities with him more likely when we get together. Perhaps the explanation is simply that he's juggling his commitments to all his different boyfriends!

GB: well if you can cook something for me this evening that would be wonderful B, I'll be round in about 30 mins is that OK
B: yes sure
GB: do you want me to bring any food?
B: I have enough here, dont worry
GB: ok gr8, and just send me a txt msg if you need to change plans because of your client
B: tks

Luckily, as I'm getting ready to leave the house, I remember that it would be rude to arrive empty handed. A quick visit to my wine cellar sorts that out and soon I'm wondering towards B's apartment with a decent bottle of 1999 premier cru red Burgundy in hand.

"Hi B," I say as I arrive, "I brought you this," and I hand him the bottle of wine.

"Thanks you," replies B giving me a quick kiss on the lips, "come in."

He's got me well trained because I know the drill! I take off my shoes in the entrance hall, before following him into the main room. I quickly discover that his business partner is out, which puts me in a good mood. Although I get on well his B's business partner, activities are always much more likely when he's not there!

We stand around talking while he shows me a few changes that they've made to the apartment since my last visit. At every opportunity, I get close to him, putting my hand on his shoulder and smiling at him. He smiles back, and rubs me on my shoulder a couple of times too, but after a couple of minutes he's got a question for me.

"You like drink of this wine then?" he asks.

"Yes sure, if you're going to have some too," I reply, "I can't manage it all on my own!"

He smiles at me nodding, and then gives me the job of opening the wine while he starts rummaging around in the cupboards in the adjoining kitchen.

Bowl of noodles"So, what you want me to cook?" he asks.

"Whatever's easy, I'm not fussy!"

Twenty minutes later and I'm tucking into a hot bowl of spicy noodles :-). But he's sat me in a chair at a small table. I'd much rather be sitting on the floor with him, so that I can snuggle up to him, and put my arm round him to thank him for cooking for me :-).

When I've finished the noodles, however, I manage to find an excuse to join him among the cushions on the floor.

"Perhaps we go next door," says B a few minutes later smiling at me, "more comfortable :-)".

My life usually doesn't work out as neatly as this, being able to visit one boyfriend for supper and fun when it turns out that another boyfriend is unavailable. When things do work out in such a convenient way though, I feel that I'm a very lucky guy!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gay lifestyle confidence (1st installment)

Back in May, I wrote a post titled the gay lifestyle black belt. The idea that a person goes through various stages when they come out as gay is certainly not new, but perhaps no one had suggested before that parallels can be drawn with martial arts grading hierarchies. I didn't intend to take the idea any further, but since then several guys have asked what the grading criteria are, most recently close encounters in a comment to my original post.

This is a serious subject, because most people find the coming out process quite hard. There's also a lot of academic work on the subject, for example the Cass Identity Model which defines six stages in coming out. If I have any academic point to make, I reckon it's that these models don't go far enough.

The final stage in the Cass Identity Model is Identity Synthesis, which I reckon corresponds to what I was calling the gay lifestyle black belt. At that stage, the person is 100% comfortable being gay, although the gay label is usually an important part of their identity. I reckon that one can go further than that. In the words of my previous posting, I reckon that "At the highest gay lifestyle competence level one has forgotten that one is gay because it's identical to being alive!"

Like most of what I write here, the comparison to martial arts grading was meant to be a light-hearted idea, and given that this is a serious subject it might not be appropriate to think about grading criteria. Having said that, as long as no one takes it too seriously, it reckon it might be fun to think about this topic :-). But I don't have a monopoly on wisdom so rather than asserting the grades and grading criteria, for now I'm only going to make a few suggestions and pose a few questions. If people can leave comments and suggest answers to some of the questions, I'll do a follow up post in a second installment next month when it should be possible to be a bit more definitive.

First, what should the grades be? Close Encounters made a suggestion in his second comment to my original posting, which was as follows:
  • White Belt
  • Yellow Belt
  • Orange Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Brown Belt
  • Black Belt
  • Blue Eagle
  • Silver Tiger
  • Golden Dragon
  • Grand Master
but I don't think we need to be bound by existing convention here. In particular, should there be a Pink belt somewhere along the path? Although it was me who suggested that to Close Encounters, I'm not sure about the idea now, because I think Pink is often associated with the more effeminate type of gay guy so maybe it's not appropriate for everyone. Or perhaps there should be a rainbow coloured belt somewhere?

In terms of establishing the grading criteria, I reckon that it's just a matter of identifying all the important milestones in the coming out process, ordering them in terms of difficulty, and then grouping them to form the criteria for each belt. In a martial arts context, I believe that the 'white belt' does have to be earned, so as I said in the original posting I reckon the 'white belt' corresponds to 'Coming out to oneself'. In between 'white belt' and 'black belt', I can think of the following milestones, but can anyone think of any others? Or perhaps some of my suggestions below aren't important enough to be on the list? I've listed these milestones in the approximate order that they happened to me, but everyone is different so maybe this isn't the best order?
  • Tolerance of being gay. Initially one may well hate oneself, so I think this does comes after white belt
  • First attempt to meet other gay people (non-sexual)
  • First gay sexual contact
  • Comfortable in a gay social environment
  • Acceptance of being gay
  • Coming out to old friends who don't know you're gay
  • Coming out to family
  • Large circle of gay friends
  • Coming out at work
  • Comfortable in a gay sexual environment (e.g. Gay sauna, gay orgy)
  • Looking for long-term gay relationships
  • Proud to be gay
Beyond these suggestions, perhaps the following are sensible candidates for milestones in the Dan ranks:
  • Maintained a long term gay relationship for 5 years
  • Maintained a long term gay relationship for 10 years
  • Immune to homophobic insults, whereas a guy at the black belt level might be eager to trade insults
  • Maintained a long term gay relationship for 20+ years
  • So comfortable with being gay that one actually forgets that it was ever an issue
Anyway, as I said above, I don't think I can work all this out on my own. So I'm looking for help here, does anyone have any good ideas on this subject?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I recently read a post titled "I'm not gay I just sleep with men", written by a guy who lives in Nairobi. I explain why I disagree with the main idea behind the posting in a comment, however reflecting on the subject matter reminded me of how I used to think.

You'll find your worst nightmare in room 101 ...When I was a teenager, I read the classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. The book describes a sinister one-party state where the senior party members seek absolute control over their citizens, even to the extent of controlling their thoughts. One of the concepts in the book was Doublethink, which is best defined as the act of simultaneously holding two contradictory beliefs while fervently believing both! At the time when I read the book, I can recall thinking that this concept was ludicrous. My best subjects at school were mathematics and the sciences, and compared to the flawless logic of mathematics in particular, illogical concepts like Doublethink made absolutely no sense to me.

Skipping forward a few years and when I thought about my personal life, there were two things that I fervently believed. I wasn't gay, how could I be, that was forbidden so I just had to be straight for sure. The other thing I knew was that I enjoyed the company of other guys, and could imagine living with some of my best male friends forever, and playing with them in intimate ways too! It was only when I eventually came out as gay that I looked back and realised the truth. Not only was Doublethink possible, I had managed it for several years. It was a big shock.

These days, partly as a result of that experience, I always try to be open to unusual concepts. However weird they might seem at first!

GB's policy on links to other bloggers

For ages, I've had a list of links to other bloggers who link to me at the bottom of the side bar on the right hand side of this blog. I maintain the list manually. I reckon that if another blogger is kind enough to link to me, then I'm happy to repay the compliment :-).

However, as I've learned more about blogging, links and the internet, I've discovered that some links aren't as good as others. The best links are (1) from the main page of a blog, and also (2) embedded directly in the page using html and not via a link manager like which actually only puts a bit of javascript on the main page. It's also important that (3) the link is to one's main page, which is in my case.

Anyone who links to me gets a good link in return. The side bar is part of the main blog page, and the links are embedded directly into the side bar with html. So in future, I'm only going to reciprocate a link if it's a good link which follows this policy. As and when I get time, I'll be trawling through my existing links to weed out the links which don't follow the policy.

If any other bloggers visit me regularly and don't yet have a link to me, now would be a good time to put one in. I'll repay the compliment for a good link :-). For people who use, the "link list" Page Element on the layout screen does create what I'm calling a good link.

Lastly, one can always create a good link manually using html. And for people who have trouble with html, the html to link to me is:

<a href="" title="A blog about all aspects of being a gay guy in 21st Century London">Gay Banker</a><br/>


<a href="" target="_blank" title="A blog about all aspects of being a gay guy in 21st Century London">Gay Banker</a><br/>

if you want the link to open in a new window :-).

Update 5-Sep-08: I've had a couple of comments by email complaining that some of the blogs that I link to don't get updated any more. So please be aware, I'll delete links to blogs which haven't been updated for more than three months. Lastly, I'll also exclude links to blogs which are only open to invited readers.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

An outstanding success

The week after I visited the guy who used poppers, I got a txt msg from boyfriend number 3 on my way into work on Monday morning:

Hello GB..hope you're keeping well. .just got to my flat last night-are you free to visit today? x

That's the boyfriend number 3 I know and love, giving me ample notice of a possible rendezvous! But in fact I can visit him at lunchtime today, so I'll finally be able to give him his birthday present :-). I send him a positive reply

Good to hear from u m8, actually I woz getting worried about u 'cos I noticed recently that u hadn't logged on to g'dar for over a week! I'll come today around noon if that's OK? GB xxx

and within a few minutes it's all confirmed

Yes 12 is good for me as the gas man is to visit some time this avo..have been with my man recently, see you later x

The morning is quite busy at the bank, but somehow I manage to slip away for an early lunch. I send boyfriend number 3 a quick txt msg to let him know that I'm on my way:

In a cab now :-). So, what do you think your pressie is going to be? GB x

I guess he's not sure what to say because the taxi arrives at his flat before he sends me a reply. Soon he's letting me into his apartment.

"Mwwwah", I say, giving him a big kiss on his lips, "so how have you been?"

"Oh bearing up as usual," he says grinning at me.

As usual, I start to strip off once he's closed the door, and soon I'm sitting on his sofa wearing just my undershorts. But I'm also holding a small box, which has been wrapped with a big bow which is holding the black wrapping paper onto it.

"So, you never replied to my txt msg, what do you think it is then?"

"Hmmmm," he says talking hold of it now, "well it's quite light!"

"I also hope you remember our conversation about this," he says anxiously, "if it's inappropriate I won't be able to accept it!"

But I'm not worried. I put my arm around him and squeeze his shoulder affectionately.

"So what is this then ...," he continues, "is it a ...," but when he finally realises what it is he's lost for words.

It's not anything expensive, in fact it's just a wallet, but I know that it's what he wants because it's in exactly the same style as my own. On several occasions since I've known boyfriend number 3 he's noticed my wallet, and he even took a photo of it on one occasion. So I was pretty confident that he'd like the present :-).

"Thanks GB," he says quietly. He bends round to give me a kiss. "You knew that I'd love this present didn’t you."

"Uh huh," I say confidently.

"It's one of the BEST presents that anyone has ever given me," he sighs, "so thoughtful!"

I feel enormously pleased, but shocked at the same time. I can't help thinking that this says more about other gifts that he's received in the past.

"So what did your guy give you this year?" I ask.

"When he realised it was my birthday he offered to take me out for supper. There was no effort, and he hadn't got a card for me. But I know what he's like, I didn't expect one!"

I feel enormously upset to hear this, so I turn his face towards me and give him another kiss.

"Well, I'm glad you like my present anyway!"

Unfortunately boyfriend number 3 has been quite busy recently, and what with my holiday as well, we haven't been able to meet up since then. But in the emails that I've received from him since we met he thanked me again for the present, so I think I really scored a winner. The only problem though is that I've got no idea as to what on earth I can get him for Christmas!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Now here's a curious thing about me. I really don't like wearing sunglasses. Although I'll wear them when I'm in a car driving towards the sun because then it's a question of safety.

And the reason for my dislike? I always feel that if you can't look someone in the eye then they've got something to hide, and as a kind of corollary to that, I reckon that sunglasses look a bit pretentious. Why wouldn't you want someone to be able to look you in the eye? It's definitely not cool to feel the need to hide anything.

Looking people in the eye is a natural part of human interaction too. I recall being told that only 25% of communication is verbal, and that 75% is body language. And eye contact is a very important part of body language. Why would one want to inhibit one's ability to communicate? Just tell someone to go away if you don't want to talk to them.

Anyway, for all these reasons, I avoid wearing sunglasses. Especially shiny sunglasses which look like mirrors!

Am I alone in feeling like this?

Monday, September 10, 2007

An email from a female reader with boyfriend problems

It's been a while since I had a 'Dear GB' email from a straight female reader, so I was happy when I realised that it was a woman who'd sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

Last year my boyfriend and I decided to embark on a "trial separation". We originally planned to do this for only 2 months, however the months kept going by, and it now has become a year. I think neither of us had the courage to make a final decision.

We have remained friends all this time, however we do not live together anymore, and I know I am no longer aware of everything that goes on in his life. I believed we had an unspoken rule about not dating anyone else. And I've kept that promise; recently I've come to suspect he is seeing someone. While I know I don't own him anymore, I do feel hurt as if this new relationship of his is cheating on me. I really want to get married and have children, and I feel that he would be the perfect father. I am not sure how to approach him and let him know that I still am madly in love with him. I want to confront his new girlfriend and explain to her what she is trying to wreck, but I'm afraid it will drive him away from me forever when he finds out. I'm really at a loss on what to do!

Having thought a bit about this now, I wonder why they embarked on the trial separation in the first place. Who was the main mover behind that? If it was him, perhaps he was just trying to her down gently. Presumably there were some problems in their relationship, so getting back together might not be a good idea if they haven't been fixed. To me, "an unspoken rule" about not dating anyone else sounds more like that's what she was hoping for than reality.

In terms of trying to get back together, if she's sure he's already seeing someone else then I'm afraid it may already be too late. I'd have thought that it would have been a joint responsibility to discuss getting back together after the initial two months if either of them wanted it. Since neither of them raised it at the time, it seems reasonable to me that he's moved on now that it's 1 year later.

But perhaps he's not seeing anyone else yet. So does she have any mutual friends that she can trust to "test the water" about a reconciliation on her behalf? Alternatively, perhaps she knows where he hangs out, in which case maybe she could just bump into him when he's on his own, tell him that she misses him, and see what the reaction is?

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Gay Entrepreneur's Toolkit

I got an email from a reader recently telling me that he'd been involved in publishing The Gay Entrepreneur's Toolkit: 100 Networking Resources, Guides, and Links. Since a lot of my readers are gay, I thought I'd draw people's attention to it :-)!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My penis and everyone else's

My name is Lawrence Barraclough and I want to talk about penisesIt was an interesting TV programme. Last Monday at 9pm on BBC 3, myself and boyfriend number 1 watched a programme called "My penis and everyone else's", presented by a guy called Lawrence Barraclough. One of the interesting things about Lawrence is that his erect penis length is just 3½ inches, which he admits is a bit on the small side.

The programme turned out to be a follow up to a programme he did a couple of years ago, called "My penis and I", where he explored why he was bothered about having a small penis. At the end of that programme, having decided against surgery, he ended up coming to terms with his small willy by getting a plaster cast made of his little chap which these days he seems happy to show to anyone who's interested!

Perhaps it was covered in the original programme, but I couldn't help wondering whether one reason for the small length of Lawrence's penis was the fact that he's a bit overweight. My experience is that chubby guys have smaller penises than average, which makes sense because some of their length is buried within themselves due to their excess fat.

One of the interesting things about the new programme was the way he ended up managing to get a few straight guys to talk about penises. He tried the direct approach in quite a few ways, all ending in abject failure. It was funny though, watching him wander through the streets of London wearing boards with the slogan "I want to talk about penises". On another occasion, the reaction of one market stallholder was funny too, he said something like:

"Talk about penises, what's that about eh? Talk about birds maybe, but if I go and talk about penises I'm going to look like a right prick!"

In the end he managed to get a few straight guys talking about penises as a result of his "Snap your Chap" exhibition, which was put on one afternoon at a bar in Hoxton called The Foundry. He'd managed to get several dozen anonymous guys to send him pictures of their flaccid penises via his "Snap your Chap" web site, and the exhibition was to show these pictures. After a while he was able to persuade some of the guys, who were originally just drinking in the bar and had just wandered into the exhibition room to see what was going on, to talk about the exhibition and hence about penises. He even managed to get a few of them to step in to a tent and photograph their own chaps on a Polaroid camera, which were then added to the exhibition. I think the alcohol the guys were drinking though probably helped Lawrence achieve his objective.

Is it true that straight guys rarely see anyone's penis but their own? Lawrence seemed to think so but I'm not convinced, in terms of younger guys in London anyway. These days fitness is much more popular than it was 20 years ago, and sports facilities have changing rooms and showers. My experience is that in changing rooms, and public urinals too, straight guys can often be found taking a crafty peek and sizing themselves up against each other.

For me, the one big thing missing from the programme was a gay viewpoint. Gay guys have LOTS to say about penises, and are obviously very well placed to comment on the subject too. I've said it before but in general, I’d rather have a hard penis to play with than a big one! Guys with really big cocks can have problems getting and maintaining erections. No doubt Lawrence made a deliberate decision to avoid getting any gay input for his programme, perhaps fearing straight guys would be put off? Maybe, but just ignoring us gay guys doesn't make our views less relevant, so perhaps he needs to improve his attitude towards homosexuality so that any follow up programme can be more balanced.

None the less I did enjoy the programme. In fact, I'm sure it had an effect on my sleep that night. When I woke up the following morning, I realised at once that I'd been having quite an enjoyable dream. I won't go into details, but on the sidelines throughout the dream, there had been various different types of snakes. Very Freudian!

Monday, September 03, 2007

A stag party

Arriving back in the UK from the holiday in Italy last Saturday, I head for a country house hotel just outside London. I've been invited to the stag party of one of my friends from university who's finally decided to marry the mother of his children, and not having seen the guy for more than a couple of years, I'm looking forward to it.

A fine venue for a gourmet dinner, washed down with a magnum of wine each!Stag events aren't usually held in such plush surroundings of course. However all the guys who've been invited have done enough stag nights involving pub crawls and strippers, so a dinner in a private room in a top hotel with good food and wine is a fabulous idea :-). And because it's a stag event, there'll certainly be a lot of wine, and probably lots of other alcoholic beverages too!

"You must know some good stories about the bridegroom GB," says the best man, "I need material for my best man's speech so what can you tell me?"

"Well, we both shared a single bed in my room one night when we were at university, is that any good?" I try.

"But did anything happen?"

"No, we were both a bit drunk, but nothing really happened. Actually, I always thought he was interested in experimenting with his sexuality, but I don't think he ever did :-(."

"Pity," says the best man, looking slightly disappointed.

Racking my brain, I tell him a few more things, but suddenly I remember something that's bound to be of use if I dare share the information.

"About ten years ago, he confided in me when his girlfriend had just left him. He needed a shoulder to cry on, and while I was consoling him he told me about all the women he'd ever slept with! It's quite a short list too :-). Somehow, I doubt he'd have told me if I wasn't gay."

An evil smile crosses the best man's lips and he manages to coax some of the information out of me. I feel a bit guilty afterwards, after all, I'm sure I was meant to keep everything I was told on that occasion confidential forever. But having the best man expose the bridegroom's inner secrets during his speech at the wedding reception is a well established English tradition these days, so how could I refuse!

It's interesting how memory works. When I arrived at the stag event late Saturday afternoon, I could hardly remember any stories about the bridegroom, but as the evening wore on and the alcohol flowed more and more things came to mind.

We all had a great time on the Saturday evening, although the hangover on Sunday was less enjoyable. I, in particular, was thankful that no one had hired any female strippers. The waitresses who served us all in the private room had a tough time though, not because we made trouble for them, but they were definitely blushing listening to the all the bawdy stories that we were telling!